Faced with dwindling mail volume and rising costs, the post office was $2.8 billion in the red last year. "If current trends continue, we could experience a net loss of $6 billion or more this fiscal year," said in testimony for a Senate Homeland Securityand Governmental Affairs subcommittee.
Total mail volume was 202 billion items last year, over 9 billion less than the year before, the largest single volume drop in history.
And, despite annual rate increases, Potter said 2009 could be the first year since 1946 that the actual amount of money collected by the post office declines.
"It is possible that the cost of six-day delivery may simply prove to be unaffordable," Potter said. "I reluctantly request that Congress remove the annual , first added in 1983, that requires the Postal Service to deliver mail six days each week."
The genesis of Netflix came in 1997 when I got this late fee, about $40, for Apollo 13. I remember the fee because I was embarrassed about it. That was back in the VHS days, and it got me thinking that there's a big market out there.
So I started to investigate the idea of how to create a movie-rental business by mail. I didn't know about DVDs, and then a friend of mine told me they were coming. I ran out to Tower Records in Santa Cruz, Calif., and mailed CDs to myself, just a disc in an envelope. It was a long 24 hours until the mail arrived back at my house, and I ripped them open and they were all in great shape. That was the big excitement point.
Tidbit from the story: Blockbuster has spent more than $500 million trying to compete with Netflix.
Hastings also explains why he believes Netflix can have a movie-by-mail business alongside a movie-streaming business. For the moment, most of the movies Netflix has available to stream are older. That's because the broadcast and cable networks have deals already cut with studios to get those films first, before Netflix. As those deals start to expire, Netflix plans to push hard to move up to the front of the line.
Wil Wheaton on the Amazon Enduser blog reviews Roku's Netflix Player: Battling "Feature Creep" with the Roku Netflix Digital Video Player.
I love the Netflix Player not just because it’s simple and elegant in a world that’s filled with unnecessarily complicated devices, but for the future it represents.
In the future, we won’t have to go to the video store, or wait for DVDs to arrive in the mail when we want to rent movies. In the future, we won’t plan our evenings around television shows, because they’ll be on-demand to fit into our schedules. In the future, we won’t have to fill our houses with physical media unless we want to. Thanks to the Netflix Player from Roku, the future is almost here.
I'm always looking for interesting titles on Netflix's Watch Instantly, and Adam has put together a list of 125 Great Movies & TV Shows you can Watch Instantly.
For Netflix users, the "Watch Instantly" feature is one of the greatest no-extra-cost additions a movie lover could ask for, made even more enticing for Xbox 360 owners who can now stream directly from their consoles to their TVs. It's a feature that effortlessly allows you to access any of the movies or TV shows you have added to your "Instant Queue." The problem, however, comes with actually finding the movies you want to add. Navigating through their selection can be both awkward and tiresome, so you may not even realize all of the great movies and TV shows they have available on there. In an effort to remedy this though, I've compiled this list, which will hopefully help to give you more bang for your buck.
During the Netflix investor webcast Netflix CEO Reed Hastings confirmed that they are testing weekend shipping:
"Our growing scale gives us many operational advantages. We’re now up to nearly 60 distribution centers across America and can provide delivery to over 97% of our subscribers in about one business day. This quarter we’ll be testing weekend shipping in parts of the country which will provide even faster service both for those new subscribers who signed up over the weekend and for those subscribers returning movies at the end of the week."
Several readers reported that Netflix processed their movies on Saturday.
Update: Seeking Alpha has posted a transcript of the investor webcast. (Thanks, Michael)
Netflix just announced Q4 2008 results, ending the quarter with more than 9.4 million subscribers and $359.6 million in revenue.
Click here for the full list of new releases this week (152).
Engadget put together a review of all of the currently available Netflix streaming devices, including the Xbox 360, Roku's Netflix Player, TiVo HD, and several Netflix-enables Blu-ray players. The winner?
So, who's the winner? Well, straight up we'd give it to the Samsung for picture quality alone, but really, it depends on your needs, since there isn't a bad choice in the group. If you're the sort of person with a stacked A/V rack, you'll probably find that you've got one or two Netflix-capable devices like the TiVo or Xbox 360 already -- ubiquity is the company's ultimate goal. If you're starting from scratch, we'd recommend the Samsung or LG so you can maximize your Netflix membership -- you need something to play those DVDs and Blu-ray discs you get in the mail, after all. If you've already got your physical playback situation sorted and you just want to dip a toe in the water, the Roku's a fine choice -- sure, it doesn't deliver as perfect a picture as some of the other options, but for $100 it's hard to beat.
I agree that the choice of a Netflix streaming device really depends on your situation. If you already have an Xbox 360 or TiVo HD, the choice is easy, but if you are also shopping for a Blu-ray player it gets a bit more complicated. One thing to watch out for are additional things you need to buy, such as a wireless connector (up to $100) or Xbox Live Gold membership ($30 - $50).
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